Suicide has become an epidemic in western nations yet nobody is adequately explaining why.... for very good reason. If the causes of suicide were fully addressed this would seriously damage industry profits and professional incomes. It would also undermine powerful lobby's attempts to undermine and institutionalise parenting.
YOUTH SUICIDE; THE NEW EPIDEMIC
A discussion paper
WHY IS IT HAPPENING? WHY MORE TO ABORIGINAL YOUTH? AND HOW MEDICAL MISDIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT EXACERBATES THE PHENOMENON
Contemporary Australian society, with its much-vaunted medical and social science resources, is failing to reverse rising suicide rates. This situation manifestly declares that the sector of professionals charged with management of human ill-health is simply not up to the job.
Worse, by simplistically determining the essential cause as clinical depression, the primary treatment automatically becomes drugs… psychiatric and psychotropic. Yet three century’s of history shows clearly that depression/bipolar (hitherto known as melancholia) never lasted longer than two years. Since the advent of pharmaceutical treatments, depression now invariably develops into a permanent condition, often progressing into deeper mental illness, including schizophrenia. Rarely, if ever, did the two conditions occur simultaneously prior to the era of chemical intervention.
Thus, not only has ‘science’ failed to deliver in the diagnosis of youth suicides, it has exacerbated the illness and evidently precipitated an increase in suicides and murder-suicides.
Note: Because I am writing from the Arnhem Land town of Nhulunbuy NT, in a region in which the bulk of the population is traditional Aboriginal (Yolngu), it is only to be expected that I provide proportionate but parallel focus in an Aboriginal context.
Suicide is a global phenomenon but culture, demography, and proximity to psychiatric services are all differentiating influences. There is no neat way to separate these and so I have been forced to mix and match, no doubt, confusingly for some readers. So, sorry about that.
Australian academics and social scientists suffer a severe disadvantage when trying to explain the current explosion of youth suicides. This is partly because the phenomenon reflects a shift in cultural paradigm that cannot be officially recognised because ideological dogmatism forbids consideration of a wide range of causal possibilities.
For example, it is illegal to consider that the condition of homosexuality is a possible manifestation of social, emotional or psychological maladjustment; possibly generating notions of suicide. Apparently, the oft-repeated declaration by older Aborigines (from the Kimberly, to Tiwi, to East Arnhem Yolngu) that homosexuality was never a feature of pre-contact Aboriginal culture, is also illegal.
It is a central condition of genuine science that all possibilities be considered, regardless of ideological or political proscription. Clearly, we have abandoned science and investigate only that which is approved by lobbies who successfully twist the arms of politicians; few if any exhibiting integrity.
Indeed, there now is a movement which holds that obesity is a normal condition, a position which if questioned is regarded by aficionados as an attack against basic human rights. Must we now anticipate new banners… fatty rights? plump pride?
We need to get back to unmanipulated and objective science, with no questions proscribed.
A second obstacle to scientific clarity and objectivity relates uniquely to traditional Aboriginal suicides, reflecting Australia’s inability to identify Aboriginal culture in other than hopelessly generic, political and legalistic terms; which means Aboriginal youth suicides cannot be viewed in cultural or acculturation contexts. As I hope to explain later in this paper, the causes of suicide in young tribal Aborigines are generated by unrecognized elements of acculturation which can only be remedied with intensive community-wide re-education and in a genuine cultural context.
Moreover, further expanding the theme of academic inadequacy, to engage in successful analysis one needs to possess a disciplined focus on evidence, to the absolute exclusion of belief, presumption, and supposition. Modern scientists are under intense employment and financial pressures to ignore this formerly overriding tri-axiom.
A third obstacle: most social scientists regard certain elements of western human behavior as global because western culture has demanded such belief, unabated since early colonial times. These errors of definition are magnified by neo-cultural definitions of intelligence as these so perilously relate to the qualification of the thus-accredited analysts.
This convoluted short circuit is explained more fully on the website oziz4oziz.com/ but briefly, the inventor of IQ tests, Alfred Binet, warned that tests could only measure absence of intelligence. Intelligence, not being linear, cannot be measured on an ascending scale… he said. American academics ignored this ruling and successfully introduced global IQ tests which were calibrated to place their own intellectual profile above all others.
It is most significant that people with high IQs measure poorly in terms of productivity and performance outside of narrow academic parameters, and they tend towards incompetence in human relationships and communication. Really high-IQ-possessing-people are clearly occupying the adjacent intellectual space to idiot savants.
True functional intelligence is more centred and, thereby, balanced; providing the possessor with the status of generalist rather than specialist… able to apply knowledge in multiple directions. Or what most of us refer to more prosaically as common sense. Generalists are also better positioned to adapt.
Yet another analytical weakness is that vast slab of fabrication we know of as recorded history; or more accurately, the intensely revised and ideologically-sanitised versions presented by that universally reviled entity… officialdom. (Personally, I have only encountered one Australian book, Leviathan, that even comes close to recording the applied values, events and incidents as these actually happened in Australia).
Ironically, another social science, the field of anthropology was established as a scientific discipline to obviate cross-cultural misjudgments, but this too has failed. For example, anthropologists uniformly presume:
- That hierarchies evolve spontaneously;
- That farming is a mandatory element in the human evolutionary sequence;
- That leadership is a positive factor in social decision-making;
- That western style parenting is normative;
- That western male/female roles are universal; and,
- That emotional and psychological disturbance are universal experiences.
To those who can see, there is massive evidence to the contrary, exposing issues which would take up too much space to explore here. Today, I merely want to establish from the outset that many western cultural knee-jerk explanations are of questionable validity and that these seriously inhibit our understanding of youth suicide.
Growing up and learning to engage with the real world
It is discipline and survival education which helps children in an urban environment to recognise the world around them, and teaches them to modify their own behavior to avoid unpleasant or dangerous consequences. Most of this occurs outside of classrooms, through peers and parenting.
Sadly, parenting is in dramatic decline, and childhood peers are ‘the blind leading the blind’.
Absence of real world recognition can be easily observed in the way very young children ‘live in their own heads’ so to speak, responding mostly to environments of their own imagination. The typical seven year old boy fighting monsters or crooks all the way to school, is pretty much oblivious to what is going on around him in our adult-viewed world.
In the normative course of maturation, he (he/her) would increasingly acknowledge the real world as this is actually experienced, or is explained to him, or otherwise becomes unavoidably evident. Historically, and in western nations, by about age sixteen, he has all but ceased to live in his head and is more or less aware of his total sense-recognised surroundings and now knows how to adapt to common-place situations and events.
Ignoring the maturation-age distortion caused by pseudo-estrogens now poisoning processed food, in girls this stage traditionally occurs at 13-15 years.
I say historically because observation suggests many youths today have significantly prolonged the period of living in their own heads, with little appreciation of the prosaic realities of life, let alone perils. Yet life inexorably and increasingly bears down on them and they have an increasingly limited capacity to deal with this.
As the contemporary grandparent generation is so often heard to lament, children have simultaneously been “robbed of their childhood”, missing crucial learning stages the need for which bubbles to the surface anachronistically in later years, and they are then forced to grapple with issues which they are emotionally and intellectually ill-equipped to deal with. What in fact has happened is that their childhood has been repressed and compressed, delivering a framework of pseudo-sophistication which camouflages the weakness within. Unresolved issues or unfamiliar experiences can precipitate reliance on unlived life-stages. Defensive retreat from such situations means these may be encountered in magnified form in the teenage years but without established defense mechanisms.
It may go some way to understanding this widely under-observed phenomena if we recognise that this can, and often does happen in later stages of adulthood: Young adults, who sacrifice their youthful years to the rigid demands of career or ambition, invariably play out the carefree experimentation stage later in mid-life, often with disastrous consequences. It seems to be, that each stage of our life must be played out to a fully satisfying extent and, if we fail to do this, the need bursts out later, quite uncontrollably. Mid-life crisis is the example most familiar to us.
Thus it is that many children who “grow up too fast”; becoming familiar with facets of life normally encountered only by adults, develop childish responses to circumstances they later encounter as teenagers.
Teenage and young adult tantrums are rapidly becoming regarded as normative behavior rather than symptomatic of serious immaturity.
We urgently need to call a spade a spade and recognise this as maturation retardation in a context of forced withdrawal of nurturing and protection by parents, family, and community. Any attempts to frame this in less disturbing terms will obscure urgency, which will be measured in young lives.
Surrendering to fear of offending people will only discourage the formal community (ie educational and medical establishments, and other social control agencies) from grappling with this very confronting and yet readily observable reality.
There are several disparate but cumulative elements we should nominate as causal or contributory to the churning of what were formerly recognized social and emotional maturation levels.
I deliberately use the tentative word nominate because contemporary cultural and political dogma dictates that some of the evidence which might thereby be exposed, is considered by authorities as unacceptable for consideration. This especially applies to gender behavior, competitive behavior, and the implications the commercial youth market has for influential entities close to government.
This includes the manufacturers and retailers of electronic devices which provide access to social media and games; and to highly lucrative psychiatric services and pharmaceuticals thereby prescribed to modify inappropriate behavior. More than two hundred of these pharmaceutical products are firmly linked to homicide/suicide; and also to mass-murder/suicides.
In all western countries, in spite of campaigns by perturbed medicos to have government install mandatory analysis and reporting procedures, it is not mandatory for coroners to test for these prescription drugs in the bodies of suicides or possible suicides; which means that massive tracts of evidence of contribution to cause of death remain hidden from public awareness or otherwise become evidence admissible in courts. Many researchers now conclude this is in response to successful lobbying of government by the medical and pharmaceutical industries.
I reiterate: The fact that we are discouraged from considering all evidence is mute evidence in itself that we have actually abandoned the challenge aspect of science whilst loudly proclaiming to be solely regulated by it. It might well be said that we have entered a new age of medieval incantationalism. The era of absurd corporate mission statements on the part of ruthless and avaricious CEOs should have served as a warning.
We need to fearlessly consider a whole plethora of damaging factors now impacting harmfully on children:
- The first suspected causal factor requiring immediate nomination is inescapably and unarguably the widespread government, academic, and media minimisation of the once traditional role of parenting. This multi-pronged campaign is aggressive and unrelenting, and has its genesis in the United Nations;
- The second suspected causative factor follows from the first: replacing parenting with institutional and mercenary interventions: ie school teachers, public media, electronic toys, social media, judicial courts, juvenile correctional services, institutional counseling, and mandatory medical regimes and interventions;
- Commercial pressure for mothers to have cesareans for (quite illusionary) cosmetic reasons, which delimit access to birth canal flora; reductions of which can encourage gut colonisation by brain-toxic biota; and hence reduce intelligence;
- Similarly, gut flora proliferation is inhibited by mothers bottle-feeding instead of breastfeeding;
- Powerful and unilateral lobbying, supported by the media, to modify naturally-evolving gender behavior;
- Creation of an unnatural maturation environment, through female domination of the parenting and education systems; which leaves boys ill-prepared for natural male roles, especially when socialising with girls;
- Decline in male role models for girls, and the concomitant protective function of fathers;
- Disparagement of motherhood by feminists, which tends to encourage boys to disrespect and disregard advice and help from their mothers;
- Demonisation of parental discipline; which eliminates much of the discipline which previously would have inspired self-discipline, and hence the personal strength generated by self-denial; which also is no longer encouraged;
- UN/University-generated agendas for teachers to sever the intergenerational transfer of values, and with these, declining respect for parents, grandparents and other elders; which would normally expose kids to a wider source of wisdom, guidance and support;
- The elimination of school curriculum which helps children to identify and familiarise themselves with the real world: geography, history, times tables (accurately quantifying and accumulating real skills), and replacing these with ideology, technology, and new belief systems not supported by the population at large. This process also alienates each generation from the other; and obscures the natural genesis of cultural diversity;
- Sleep deprivation; and,
- Suicide-inducing prescription drugs.
Observably, discipline, and hence self-discipline, is declining at every level, with parental authority especially denounced by teachers, academics, medical authorities; and social scientists. Indeed, a Darwin academic recently and unilaterally demanded the outlawing of parental smacking (NZ actually outlawed smacking of children). It would make infinitely more sense to legislate mandatory psychiatric treatment for people who suffer such grandiose delusions of their unmandated importance in the world.
These reform lobbies, both overt and covert, comprise only a tiny component of the national electorate yet they enjoy influence not commensurate with their numerical mandate. This may well be linked to the media-proselytized rise in elitism, especially evident amongst academics and scientists. Ironically, there is not a shred of scientific or productivity evidence to support their claimed elite status.
In terms of suicide, the teaching profession’s abrogation of former child protection roles to prevent bullying, have left weaker children vulnerable to victimisation and without recourse to any kind of defense… hence the only escape-avenue of suicide.
School teachers claim to embrace a policy of zero tolerance of bullying, yet both bully and victim are punished equally should the victim resist violence. This is in absolute conflict with majority parental advice, especially that of fathers, who invariably encourage their children to stand up to bullies. Moreover, the community at large supports active resistance to bullying and also supports punitive action against bullies, including expulsion and prosecution in the Courts if more subtle behavior modification fails.
Evidence strongly suggests that bullying derives from misdirected parenting, especially where hierarchism and authoritarianism is the signature; recommending mandatory parent training (ie PET or its equivalent). (As a welfare officer, to my surprise, I discovered that most over-punitive parents were profoundly grateful for being made aware of alternative methods in child behavior modification).
That teachers, especially school principals, feel free to run counter to community expectations and values is clear evidence of collective delusions about their own status and intellect, verging on the sociopathic.
Australian Principal’s Association publications read like a manifesto for autocracy. Especially repugnant is most principal’s attitude that: parent-teacher nights and school reports are public relations exercises rather than expressions of teacher/parent collaboration in the enhancement of children’s education.
Meanwhile, former primary school teacher training in which actual teaching skills and inspirational knowledge were learned, have been abandoned since the 1970s and replaced with human development theory very much at odds with community belief and understanding.
In fact, during the first few months of teacher training, teachers are encouraged to regard themselves as above the community, and superior in intellect. Anecdotal evidence strongly suggests otherwise. Manifestly, most school teachers have never left school; have little idea of how the real world works; and are compulsively defensive when interacting with parents. They routinely use educational jargon and social science buzzwords to hold parents at arm’s-length.
Additional evidence of most school teacher’s irrationality and delusionism is the oft-heard claim that they are forced by the community to perform, not only as teachers, but also as social workers and surrogate parents. The cold reality is that teachers were never mandated for these roles in the first place and invariably do not have the training or talent to undertake such functions.
Readers should note the constant presumption of mandate, where historical evidence shows none exists.
Declining self-control and self-discipline in youth correlates also with the declining emphasis on school punctuality, and consistency in school attendance, both of which followed the introduction of pupil-free days and unsupervised study periods.
These two elements serve as important precursors to later attendance at places of employment, in spite of tiredness, lack of sleep, or natural disinclination.
This distancing of themselves from the community reflects itself in many school teachers’ incapacity to empathise with troubled youth. Coupled with the 1970s/80s teacher-union-generated campaign against discipline, which teacher’s organisations falsely claim flowed from the community itself, self-regulating behavior on the part of youth is at an all-time low.
Consequently, when youths experience the collapse of callow love affairs, or otherwise rejection by the opposite sex, the coping mechanisms available to previous generations are simply not there. It takes considerable self-discipline to lift one-self out of the pit of despair into which lost love drives us all, and many kids today not only lack this, but their education has disabled real-world perspective: their capacity to comprehend that everybody suffers so… and actually survives. This is the lonely isolation, created by alienation from parents, and especially grandparents (a softer place to land), into which youth slides towards suicide. They simply lack the emotional strength to survive.
The suffering of contemporary youth is exacerbated by the added source of peer abuse provided by facebook and other websites. Powerful mercenary interests do not permit governments to legislate ameliorating protection mechanisms. And, it is an inevitable and parallel observation that laws enabling money to regulate the election of political representatives, and hence legislation, is the sole cause of this.
I would put forward the proposition that, if the electorate was fully informed, and was permitted to assume its actual democratic role of formulating government policy, many electronic games and social media occupying up to 15 hours per day of some children’s time, would not be nearly as accessible. And games like Grand Theft Auto would not be on the youth market at all.
Studies show that these games, played to excess, inure children to violence; and the electronic devices themselves are brain damaging (ref. Harvard). That overuse also detracts from healthy exercise and genuine social interaction is beyond denial. This physical impact on mental health also suggests reduced intellectual capacity to think around feelings of suicide.
What is said here is by no means dogmatic. We are still exploring.
These are the observable factors which should be investigated by the wider community as a means of mitigating situations which lead to isolation and hyper-normal depression.
Speaking for myself, I will cheerfully go along with informed community consensus on these issues, but not for one second will I tolerate the continued interventions of failed professionals. Indeed, I view them as central to the problem and entirely culpable for the horrific damage being inflicted on children.
For Aboriginal youth, vulnerability to suicide is significantly enhanced by a severe crisis in parenting.
Aboriginal youth suicide in the NT
Half a century ago, traditional Aboriginal child-raising roles were spread across the entire extended family, with particular relatives responsible for various aspects of nurturing, guidance, discipline, nutrition, and skills development.
Three trends have decimated or otherwise deprived Yolngu of much of this extended family:
- The forced centralisation of clans, from Songline territories to missions or government settlements, in which several language groups are located on a single clan’s territory. The desirable alternative is return to Homelands.
- The premature deaths or incapacity of much of the extended family; and
- Urban drift which, for obvious reasons, has generated a transition from extended family to nuclear family, or even one parent families; but no accompanying realisation that a new nuclear parenting role must emerge to replace the now absent extended family.
No culture incorporates mechanisms which enable families to spontaneously adapt to such a crisis and this only happens gradually as unwelcome outcomes force new perceptions on the community.
Aboriginal urban drift provides the most easily comprehended situation:
Traditionally, Aboriginal parents do not apply discipline. Recent trends have made this problematic.
Typically, an Aboriginal parent requiring dialysis or other medical intervention, brings children and one or two other relatives to the new urban setting. Thus, the extended family, especially the uncle who would undertake life apprenticeship for a post-Dhapi (circumcision ceremony) child, is no longer available. Nor are the other extended family members who might otherwise exert discipline and education.
Consequently, the parenting element no longer exists and many Aboriginal children grow up without adequate guidance about behavior or values. It simply never occurs to the available birth parent or parents that all these roles must now be adopted by them. In other words, not only for the family of urban-based dialysis treatment victims; and in terms the rest of the world takes for granted, many traditional Aboriginal children today receive no parenting whatsoever. Albeit with a different historical path, urban Aboriginal children are in much the same position, with criticized parents claiming this is “culture”; which clearly it is not.
Because no government department is aware of this yawing gulf in the Aboriginal nurturing environment, there has been no provision of appropriate reorientation services which would anyway only be successful if delivered by a traditional person of a common-language group and of the appropriate sub-section (malk). Currently, due to ideological and legalistic definitions, anybody claiming some vague link to Aboriginality can qualify for such a role, even though they have no prerequisite cultural knowledge, language or status. This is a formula for disaster.
Generally, the first intimation that dialysis (or whatever medical treatment) family children are not coping with the geographical transition, is non-achievement in school. But because school teachers prosaically know that remote area education has been dysfunctional since 1978, measurable performance is not anticipated anyway. Teachers have very low expectations of Aboriginal advancement and few bother to explore workable approaches.
The second occasion upon which community authority entities become aware of family function failure is when the child comes before the court.
Once again, nobody has told the parent or parents that, in the absence of extended family, they must undertake the entire parenting role.
The new ideology of victimism invariably urges the parent to regard herself or himself as a victim of racism. The Aboriginal Deaths in Custody report actually encourages this, yet few if anyone in authority or in the media has bothered to read the actual findings this famous report, which actually states the opposite of what everybody thinks. (ie Per capita, more non-Aborigines than Aborigines die in custody, which defies the entire foundation of the $80 million Royal Commission of Inquiry). Ironically, this apparent managed reversal of the truth should be the object of another Royal Commission of Inquiry.
Anyway, in the absence of parenting, children grow up:
- Without being read to,
- Without the benefit of healthy food,
- Without awareness of wider-community codes of right and wrong, and,
- Without the discipline that ultimately cultivates self-discipline.
Providing context, in the non-Aboriginal wider community, this is also typical of a social strata that has come to be known as Bogans… ie a growing post 1973 population segment with low-to zero employment and only the most elemental education; which is the most significant outcome of the obliterated Bell Curve).
Typically, NT Aboriginal children have:
- Little or no self-control;
- No curb on self-indulgence;
- No cognizance of good or bad nutrition;
- No will-power to undertake arduous experiences such as homework or sports training;
- No capacity to develop real world aspirations;
- No expectation of full-sequence life experience: and,
- No comprehension that their behavior can disadvantage or even injure those around them.
As with all children, traditional Aboriginal children need a firm grasp of wider reality in order to deal with emotional upheavals, but Aboriginal children are denied the discipline, and hence self-discipline, to utilise this.
Traditional Aborigines most certainly do recognize the adult outcome, a person without self-discipline; or as they describe it: “bayingu rapirri” but, not only is there is no comprehension of how this inadequacy came about; there is no recognition that this should be a consideration meriting remedy. In a cultural context, the notion of behavior modification is entirely alien.
The education system and TV provides Aboriginal youth with a miniscule and distorted overview of how the rest of the world survives. Alternative sources of information, such as books, are rarely found in Aboriginal homes. And no government agency has yet realised that all Aboriginal parents need to be informed of their new responsibility to parent their children in the more universal context.
The wider Australian community, as represented by government departments with focus on education, health, housing, corrections and law, has yet to comprehend that, not only are traditional Aborigines unprepared for this unprecedented transition, the wider Australian community has already suffered from the same process of change over a period of three hundred years.
We need to acknowledge and appreciate this; for from such catharsis can wider comprehension of the Aboriginal predicament gradually emerge. Ergo, the European-Australian community needs first to recover knowledge of our own history. Tragically, schools have abandoned this, not that educationists ever tried really hard to present history in a format from which we could usefully learn.
Another disturbing aspect of Aboriginal life is the widespread lack of sleep, or lack of quality of sleep.
Educationists are generally aware that many Aboriginal children have their sleep disturbed by noisy relatives and visitors, but there does not appear to be a general awareness that many such children also sleep with the light on. Fear of assassins and evil spirits (galka and mokoy) forces many people to lock doors and windows at night and to sleep with the light on. This can also reflect fear of assault. For others, addiction to facebook and electronic online games are the issues (a phenomenon which is now worrying parents worldwide).
And, it probably needs to be recognized that habitually unemployed members of the family often sleep by day and engage in noisy or disruptive behavior by night; which disturbs the sleep of those required to attend work or school.
Lack of sleep has widely underestimated consequences. The Commonwealth Department of Health has found that half of all Australians do not get enough sleep to maintain normal good health; which was a rise of 30% in just a few years..
The seriousness of this is clarified by laws that make sleep deprivation in prison or police cells illegal, and to be classified as torture. Moderate sleep deprivation causes loss of emotional control, which can progress to violence and hallucinations, and greater deprivation can lead to death.
It seems reasonable to conclude that sleep deprivation is one of the causes of irrational behavior in youth and also in adults; including committing suicide.
In both mainstream and Aboriginal Australia, addiction to, or unrestricted use of internet and electronic games, causes additional sleep deprivation and (according to some scientific evidence) actual physical brain damage.
Community observation strongly supports these conclusions.
Urban victims of suicide
Finally, there is the consideration of urban Aboriginal children who are culturally mainstream Australian and who speak only one language… Australian English. Crazily, many of these children are under daily pressure by parents and other family members, or even by school teachers, to adopt a cultural-Aboriginal persona.
Eventually, these children will inevitably be confronted by reality and will be forced to decide whether or not to parade a culture they do not in fact possess.
Should they decide to maintain the pretence, it seems likely that social derision and conflict will occur and this may well lead to mental ill-health. Whether or not this has ever led to suicide does not appear to be officially recorded, but this is an undeniably unhealthy situation and the community needs to discuss this and settle on a commonsense definition of Aboriginality that everybody can live with, and which accurately reflects language and culture.
While individuals may well feel free to identify however they wish, there can be no compulsion on anybody else to accept a manifestly false identity. This is a freedom that cuts both ways.
I have known Aborigines, close friends of mine, who have lost their sanity due to inter-cultural and cross-cultural identity conflict, so it seems reasonable to point to this experience as a good reason for further research.
The global historical perspective:
Europe – from rural peasant extended family and clan, to industrial revolution and reactive social evolution: producing the nuclear family
In the interests of making valid comparisons, we need to be more aware of the painful European history of adaption to social change.
In UK and Europe of the pre-industrial era, almost the entire population worked for the aristocracy and landed gentry, as labourers. This meant all able-bodied family members tilling fields, harvesting crops, and husbanding domestic animals.
Babies were carried in the fields by their mothers until weaned, and then left in the care of extended family members who were otherwise too old or incapacitated to endure field labour. Thus, all daytime nurturing and education took place in the home, exercised by the extended family.
The industrial revolution drew millions of peasants to cities, attracted by stories of new-gained wealth. Although this prosperity was essentially illusionary, wages being low, hours long, and work conditions dangerous; there was no realistic way to return to serfdom. Moreover, children, too, were expected to work as adults. Thousands of children perished in coal mines and mills, and adults died from industrial accidents and toxic conditions; and orphans were without protection of any kind, except the workhouses.
Parents had left their oldies behind in the rural villages and had to cope with long hours on the job and their children cared for by those sharing over-crowded accommodation. An ethic of village raising the child became replaced by a neighbourhood structure of supportive relationships.
By the end of the 17th century, wealthy but compassionate individuals successfully campaigned against child labour and the first child-minding centres appeared. Evangelistic Christian elements believed this was an ideal opportunity to teach children to read, so that they could “read the bible and so become righteous citizens”.
In 1811, The British National Society formed the first school to promote education for the poor. By 1835 many schools had appeared across England.
For the next eighty years, these schools proliferated as vast kid factories, with instruction provided by rigid fundamentalist disciplinarians. It has to be said that the emergence of schools was driven more by the anti-child-labour movement than by mainstream recognition of the value of education per se. Meanwhile, engineering-led lobbies began to realise that acquisition of writing and arithmetic would make these kids more productive workers in the future. The trade unions were another force that promoted education. Meanwhile, the aristocracy fought these trends as affronts to their endemic superiority as ruling class. Other areas of knowledge were added to curriculum over the ensuing century.
Meanwhile, by the end of the 19th century, housing estates were being created and the modern nuclear family living in a family dwelling, emerged.
Throughout this era, a new ethic of child-raising and parenting methodology evolved, publicly typified by the axiom spare the rod and spoil the child. By the mid-Victorian period (1860ish) this also included children should be seen and not heard. By the turn of the century, seriously disturbed medicos (Plunket et al) were urging emotionally-damaging parenting techniques, which were not seriously debunked until the 1960s.
Publicly at least, acceptance of nurturing children with love and affection was seen as decadent and affete. Privately, most parents went their own way.
Clearly, the parenting revolution of the west was a painful and convoluted experience, and this two century-long era of painful misinformation and maladjustment has yet to conclude with any meaningful level of enlightenment. Aborigines therefore, when urged to adopt parenting techniques and practices, should not feel singled-out. We have all been down this road. In fact, most parents are going to have to modify their entire lifestyles to meet the clash between technology and corporate marketing, versus child development needs.
In fact, this adjustment battlefield has been ongoing.
Post WWII, discipline has been a constant and prominent component of the parental role, and the imperative for nurturing self-discipline was still highly evident until 1960. The discipline ethic was evidenced by continued corporal punishment in schools until the 1970s, wherein a belief was generated that discipline was not a necessary precursor of self-discipline.
Debate was then sidetracked by arguments for and against corporal punishment, with the cultivated implication that any discipline at all was linked to punitive parenting and therefore bad.
This flies in the face of the global experience. Even at a micro-level, older generations note that the current outburst of juvenile criminality and youth suicide were rarely encountered in their own early lives (1940s to 1960s), and well-maintained records most certainly support this observation.
The prevailing belief by academics that a wide swathe of youth has always been criminal, but that this was not recorded due to a primitive documentation system, is patently infantile… and grossly insulting to senior citizens who have long proved their intellect and capacity for accurate recall.
And, in point of fact, documentation of societal trends and events was infinitely more objective and accurate then, than it is today, wherein all objective and contemporary documentation is now edited for political correctness and fashionable interpretation.
In historical normative terms, maturation progressively assists children to come to terms with the real world. This is nature at work and we reconstruct our nurturing environment outside these parameters at our peril.
Contemporary maturation is retarded by:
- Lack of parenting and discipline,
- Delimited normal experience,
- Imposed ideology,
- Reduced school curriculum,
- Corporate and government-engineered family breakdown,
- Electronic information and communication pseudo-environments,
- Severe gender imbalance in nurturing and education,
- Reductions in mental and physical health due to:
- Malnutrition and lack of exercise,
- Food and medication toxicity,
- Suicide-inducing prescription drugs,
- Sleep deprivation,
- Reduced social cohesion, and
- Media propaganda.
Aboriginal maturation, too, is retarded by the above elements, but is exacerbated also by almost complete absence of parenting and discipline. Some parents and grandparents recognise this and have called for government recognition of Aboriginal law and mores, family authority distribution, and such critically important relationship processes as Yothu Yindi, Ngapipi-Waku, and Mari-Gutharra. Prominent in this regard is the North East Arnhem Land child protection initiative "Makan", now adopted by the NT Government.
As reliance on experts got us into this mess in the first place, our wisest move would be to throw the entire scenario back onto the total community for discussion and analysis.
The wisdom and validity of this is underscored by the words of Thomas Paine : All authority resides in the People.
We urgently need to recognize what should be intellectually obvious; that there is 99.99% more knowledge and wisdom out there in the community than within hopelessly corrupted government and rarified academia.
In this context, ‘the community’ should be defined as:
- Our neighbourhood; or
- Our village; or
- Our clan; or
- Our homeland community
…as the case may be.
We must finally recognize that the era of titled experts was always an illogical error of judgment, and was globally promoted as part of the elitism movement, which itself was historically and financially allied to eugenics, aristocracies, hierarchism, oligarchism, fascism and neo-feudalism.
Community problems can only be resolved by the community, for the community; and the means resolution can only emerge from implementation of consensus protocols. The elements that produce consensus are:
- Free and unrestricted community access to the full range information, as identified by the community;
- Free access of all sectors of the national community to the same information;
- Free access to community analysis of this information.
- Legal prevention of information manipulation or restriction by government, media, or lobbies.
Aboriginality as a qualification.
Regardless of origin, a person’s culture is defined by their first language.
Commensurate with this anthropological reality:
- A person is culturally Aboriginal if this person’s first language is an Aboriginal language.
- A person is ethnically Aboriginal if he or she is of Aboriginal descent. Such a person may or may not be culturally Aboriginal, which can be critically important in terms of cultural employment qualification or qualifying for cross-cultural services.
- In the North and Centre of Australia (that delta formed by the Kimberly and NT), most Aboriginal people are ethnically and culturally Aboriginal.
These distinctions are important when Aboriginality is a qualification for a job because the language and culture components are the valued abilities, not the ethnicity. Unfortunately, political expedience has resulted in people who are of Aboriginal ethnic descent, often marginally, obtaining jobs to assist traditional people, yet they have none of the necessary qualifications of language and culture.
This means that traditional people are short-changed on a much-needed service, or miss out on employment for which they are better qualified than the numerically more significant urban pretenders.
Another problem caused by the hopelessly loose official definition is that non-cultural Aborigines define the needs of cultural peoples, which results in inappropriate or inadequate services. Typical of this are calls for tokenistic reforms which can have no practical impact on traditional people, but which absorb funds critically needed elsewhere. Treaty, Recognise, and Close the Gap, are typical of the expensive feel-good campaigns that are entirely without substance.
This has to stop.
Aboriginal youth suicides in remote communities is just such an issue, which urban English-only-speaking Aborigines, with their greater numbers, will hijack with unneeded clinical services, ensuring that culturally appropriate action will never be funded.
As with housing, education, and health services, cultural Aborigines receive inadequate services which invariably do more harm than good.
For the purposes of establishing genuine cross-cultural communication, consultation (and thereby rendering education, health and other developmental programmes effective), primary culture identification is the sole justifying factor.
Conclusions pertaining to definitions of aboriginality:
- Culturally-appropriate policies must be applicable only to demonstrated culture, as revealed by recipient’s first language or, at the very least, demonstrated bilingualism;
- All policies must be applied on a regional basis, as defined by actual language of optimal communication by the said population.
- All government-community dialogue must take place in the language of the intended recipients. This means that government personnel who engage with Aboriginal communities must learn local languages. This is essential, as the anthropologist Elkin pointed out way back in 1926; backed also by Donald Thomson. A lingua franca is evident in every community. The logistics are simple, the personnel already exist, and all that is needed is for government to abandon colonialism and to finally discharge its responsibilities to Australia’s cultural indigenous people.
This entirely subjective and arbitrary term has been coined in advance of a more applicable means of measuring emotional and psychological maturation of youth, which can then be applied universally and despite disparate cultures.
Because an immediate obstacle to defining a given normative maturation level is deciding at what point in history was normal maturation most measurably achieved, and at what stage in life did each stage occur, there will need to be a consensus formed in this regard.
Predictably, social scientists and educationists will agonise over the impossibility of installing accuracy to such a scale, so we would be well-advised to settle this issue here and now, within the community.
Subject to community validation or correction, I focus on 1950 as the nearest international date of normative maturation levels, because these compare accurately to experiences over thousands of years.
Arnhem Land NT
2 January 2018
© Copyright Tony Ryan 2018
Influence of prescription drugs on suicide and murder-suicide
In terms of the known history of Depression, the following is a most useful website. To my knowledge, Dr David Healy has worked on and researched this issue more insightfully than anybody else.
Dr. David Healy
Psychiatrist. Psychopharmacologist. Scientist. Author.
Drugs that can trigger & cause suicide or homicide
Cyproterone and ethinyl estradiol
Anti – Acne
Aldomet, Aldoril, Dopamet
Paxil, Seroxat, Deroxat, Aropax